Christmas in Heaven

Dad!! You.. are.. there!!

In a blink!!

I’m so glad your Jesus and your Angels were with you in those last moments❤️. You were soo ready! You longed for this moment for the past 13 years and especially after mom went to Heaven… you missed her soo much.

You said you were not scared to die. You were ready. I hope you felt my last hug the day before. I hope your spirit heard my singing, “What a friend we have in Jesus”(Your favourite we sang together many times) and “How beautiful Heaven must be.” My “thank yous” and my goodbyes.

Thank you for our night shifts. You always encouraged me… and my book is done dad… you always asked about it. I’m so glad I read to you those late nights. I’m so glad the “Louisville” story made it into my book, but more than that, you heard it firsthand! Front seat:)

Oh how I wish I could have seen the welcome you recieved by mom, your parents, Grandma and Grandpa Janz and so many more! My friend shared that she saw you give Jesus a big huge hug like a long lost friend… What a beautiful picture❤️

Just like the song we sang for many years together “What a friend we have in Jesus.” I’m so sure mom grabbed you as she burst through the crowd! And she could hardly reach because you were soo tall and so sturdy on your feet… WALKING!!! I am soo happy for your ultimate healing dad!

That big broad smile and mom reaching for your face and holding it in her hands as she love to do on Earth in your happy times.

Did she take you by the hand dad? What then dad? Did you start dancing with mom as she had always yearned for here on Earth? Did she lean on your chest and know all was well forever more?

I can only imagine… But you don’t have to anymore! I am sure Jesus said “Well done my son! ” He saw you struggle and your faithfulness. You never complained…and now your prayers of complete healing were answered!!

What do you see Dad? Billy Graham… Johnny Cash… George Beverly Shea… Don Williams… Wilf Carter? Is he singing “You Are My Sunshine” as you sing your favourite song to mom in your beautiful bass voice??

Is Billy Graham still preaching the Salvation story so important you? I would imagine so!

Do you see our son who left us far too soon now 34 years ago?… Do you see your Mansion prepared just for you by your Jesus? Is mom walking you there? Is Jesus just smiling at your wonderment?

How do your feet feel on the golden streets?? You longed so to feel the crunch of leaves and snow beneath your feet for the past 13 years… I’m confident the streets of gold more than make up for it!

Is “night lunch” ready at Grandma and Grandpa Janz’s? Is uncle Nick and tante Sara and all the rest of the family there welcoming you? Has Grandma Janz made your favourite flan cherry pie just like she did on the farm and for you and mom’s wedding?… And did she exclaim with excitement… “Hendrich!!

Have you told them of the books I’ve written like you said you would and have you hugged your dad so tight like you talked about so much? And have you told him of everything he had missed these past 20 years?

It’s been nine months dad and it will be your first Christmas in Heaven!!

I’ve been listening to “Alan Jackson Christmas” as had been your favourite this past year, bringing you sweet memories of mom❤️

Statler brother and Johnny Cash Christmas music just brings tears to my eyes and heart as I remember you playing those CDs over and over again this past year trying to keep mom close to you.

Are you singing “Angels We Have Heard On High” and are you harmonizing in your beautiful bass voice in a choir of angels??

Oh what a Hope we have!!

Well Dad, just for now… I will continue to celebrate on earth with those I hold so dear, but I will remember, as I gaze upon yours and mom’s black and white wedding picture and our first family black and white professional portrait when we were just little at Walt’s Studio.

Is the snow falling softly on the streets of gold as the latest country song goes? Are all the trees decked in lights beyond what I can even imagine as we have attempted to decorate on this planet for many years?

Oh how you loved Christmas!! you and Mom both!!

But for now I will remember you through the home movies we used to enjoy together, as I watch you walking tall in another lifetime it seems when you were the master of your gravel truck and your coveted 66 “Merc” as you called it….

As you now enjoy

Christmas in Heaven❤️

The Cloth

Time was not on her side…Time was not on my side.

Time had not been kind to her body, nor her mind, and time had not been kind to our relationship at times, and now it was time… Time to say goodbye.

Time to close this chapter in a way that would close all the chapters before. The time had come for my mom to say goodbye to this world… to us… to me…

but I wanted more time.

The drive from my small hometown to my moms was short, too short for all my heart wanted to say to my mom. Where do I start… where do I end?

A short prayer of “Show me how to wrap everything that has hurt and everything that was good in this short time that was left.”

I buzzed into the building as I had done many times over the years, knowing it could be the last time.

The ride to the second floor seemed far too quick. The familiar hallways didn’t make things easier for my heart as I slowed my steps to perhaps make time stand still, if even just for a moment.

Mom’s homemade, colourful bauble Christmas wreath still adorned the front door as my mom had been too tired to take it down as time was stealing away her strength.

It was now the month of April and the chorus of tiny birds living in trees just outside the building had sung me in again like they did most days.

But my heart was not joining in their happy chorus. I wanted time… more time I didn’t feel I had. There was so much to say… or was there?

I made my way down the familiar short hallway to her bedroom. The door was open. She never liked to be alone. Her small curled up being was covered with a soft cozy blanket taking up such a small space in the large queen size bed. It was a picture I had seen many times before, coming for lunch during these past few years.

But today was different. Lunch was not on either of our minds.

I slowly crouched beside her side of the bed, leaving us face to face with each other.

“Hi Mom,” I quietly whispered, “it’s Arlene,” as I placed my hand on her warm forehead. “Would you like a cold cloth?” I gently asked.

A slow familiar smile crossed her face as she replied, “That would be nice.”

I quickly made my way to the bathroom sink and gently took a pale green cloth from my mom’s freshly washed stack of wash cloths and proceeded to wring it under a slow stream of cool water.

My heart was all of a sudden completely wrapped up in this small, but somehow very meaningful process in the moment.

Making my way back to the small form in the large bed, I gently… oh so gently, place the cool, pale green cloth on her warm forehead.

My mom closed her heavy eyes gently as a familiar slight smile formed on her lips, “Thank you.” She whispered quietly in her weak but familiar voice.

And there it was.

The answer to my prayer.

All that needed to be said and done was wrapped up in just one cool, pale green cloth…

It was done in one moment.

Three days later my mom peacefully entered Heaven’s Glory. We both experienced a peace. The healing journey would continue through the next few years, but the close to that chapter… an answer to my prayer, would be a beginning.

Heaven for my mom and a Heaven-sent answer to a prayer for me…. A beginning and an end….

With…

the cloth.

The Night Diamond

It was one of my favorite times on my grandma and grandpa’s farm back when I was a little girl.

Firefly catching.

Grandma’s clear glass mason jar with holes punched in the tin lid was a temporary house we would catch them in and set them on the stone porch long after the sun had gone down into the dark of the night .

The stars on a clear warm summer night where the only other sparkle in competition with the Wonder of these dancing flies.

Some nights the show was nothing short of magical it seemed, like a sea of lights shining intermittently in the black of the summer night. One never knew where or when the next night diamond would show up.

We all carry a light whether we aware of it or not. Everyone of us. Going about our day we have no idea who may need our light. It may be as simple as a smile, a kind word, a phone call, your influence or your gift of your prayers.

Some days you may not feel like you are a light in any way. Yet if you are a mom or a dad you are a constant light. If you work at a job outside the home you are a constant light, and yet on some days you will also need someone’s else’s light.

The gift of prayers.

They may seem invisible but they shine brightly through the lives you lift up in your prayers. I believe those who have gone on to Heaven have prayed prayers here on Earth over the years that still shine brightly in our lives.

Prayers transcend time.

We never run out of time with prayers for those we love. They are an investment that travel through time and continue into Eternity I believe.

So no matter if you feel like you haven’t ever mattered in the way your life shines to those around you… if you’ve ever whispered a prayer… You’ve been a night diamond.

My mom went to her forever home a few weeks ago way too soon. We weren’t finished with her yet here on this Earth. But I know that although she is not physically here with us anymore, her spirit is more alive now then it’s ever been and I know that all the prayers she has prayed during her lifetime still shine and will continue to.

You are one of these lights.

Become aware of the influence you are in the midnight sky of a hurting world and know you carry the light of a night diamond.

https://anewday950968079.blog/2021/10/26/ill-see-the-lights-2/

Crouching low as to not bump our heads on the low ceiling of the bunk in the 1970s family motorhome my little sister and I made ourselves as comfortable as could be in the small space. The Monopoly board, paper money, houses, hotels, and move tokens took up most of the leftover space. It was one of our favorite things to do on our many summer family trips.

A long narrow window out the front gave opportunity for the best panoramic views where we were headed day or night. My views consisted of the majestic mountains in the British Columbia interior to the water’s edge of Newfoundland over the years.

On this particular trip my dad pointed the motorhome south across the border to California. Spectacular cities and country views by day…KOA campground signs and mostly deserted roads by the dark of the night.

This particular night long after dark, searching for the KOA campgrounds, the rolling hills of Salt Lake City came into view. Perched on the top bunk now tucked in with cozy blankets and pillows matching the 70s brown and gold decor, the motorhome crawled up a particularly long hill. Only the headlights lit the highway in the wee hours of the morning.

As my eyes grew tired and mesmerized by the continuous passing of the yellow dividing lines on the highway, I started nodding off.

Suddenly something bright forced my tired eyes to open a bit. My eyes then opened wide as what appeared woke my mind wide. Cresting the hill, a sea of lights shone as a million white diamonds as far as the eye could see.

I gasped slightly as I caught my breath at the sight. My eyes were wide open now not wanting to miss any of this view that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. There was a comfort in the cast glow of the city, even then in my 12 year old mind.

The darkness seemed to all but disappear as the city lights seemed to envelope us all.

As I think back on this memory, it reminds me of the first time I heard the Gaither gospel song “Because He Lives”. One particular line in the song has stood out in my heart ever since and it goes as follows:

“I’ll see the lights of Glory… and…I’ll KNOW He lives!“.

There may be times we will have to travel through life in the dark of the night after the joys of daylight with only the dividing lines and a few signs illuminated. But knowing that the final crest someday will open wide the windows of all the lights of Glory that will leave your eyes wide in awe and your heart breathless, will make this trip worth all you or I will experience.

And…

you’ll know… that you know… that you know…

He lives!♥️♥️

The Ultimate Captain

The 1970s Triple E camper windows framed the looming west coast rugged mountains like a majestic breathtaking motion picture, as my dad, the captain, pointed or vacation home on wheels confidently along the narrow winding, mountainous roads, inching dangerously close periodically to the seemingly dwarfed guardrails framing the seemingly endless valleys below.

This drive, or any other adventurous trek, was in my dad’s blood. It made his soul happy motor homing with his family.

I for one never doubted my dad’s skills. His fearless natural abilities to drive through any terrain or a trusty Manitoba blizzard for that matter, seemed to come naturally to him. His calm relaxed position in any of his captain’s chairs… one hand; two fingers actually, resting casually on the steering wheel, was a picture etched permanently into my mind over the years.

My struggles with the motion of the weaving camper along the looming mountain roads amidst the endless valleys below, found me crawling under one of the cozy camping blankets on the couch nestled just below one of the expansive windows.

My heavy eyes would close quite easily as the motion picture outside our family motorhome mile after many mile, rocked me gently into dreamland.

My security with my dad behind the wheel in the midst of the mountainous treacherous winding road, left me sleeping peacefully for many a mile of our family vacation, oblivious to the dangers. No fear.

The safety and security I felt riding in our family motorhome with my dad in the captain’s chair, through the rugged terrain and deep treacherous valleys, mere feet from our travelling home at times, was a gift to my young heart.

As beautiful as it was, it paled in comparison to the safety and peace afforded us by our Heavenly Father…

Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10.

He is with us always whether we are aware of it or not.

The rugged, towering, steep mountains and treacherous deep valleys of this world we are living in today, can leave us weak and fearful if we do not know or trust our Captain.

I knew my dad… I knew his heart. I had experienced his safety for a long while already by then. I trusted him enough to fall asleep peacefully as my dad sat in his captain’s chair, navigating for our little family.

What are you facing today? What mountain, what valley… what unseen winding road?

He promises NEVER to leave us or forsake us. Not now… not ever.

Rest in His presence. Know He sees it ALL. He is our HOPE… our ONLY hope.

I hold those sweet memories of those motorhome trips through the mountains dear to my heart so many years later now.

Knowing my Heavenly Father can be trusted infinitely more, is a place my heart can rest in, as I see the beauty amidst the looming mountains and treacherous valleys and unseen roads in our world today.

A hope Beyond hope… a peace that passes understanding, as I crawl under the covers… and sleep in security, navigating this world, resting my faith…

In my Ultimate Captain.

The Ultimate Pursuit

3 months had come and gone.

Many moments of memories already passed. The first Father’s Day… my dad’s birthday… my birthday… and so many more special occasions had stepped heavy on my heart memories.

All happened in this new season without Dad here on planet Earth.

A few visits to both Mom and Dad’s resting place reminded me of how real it really had become.

It didn’t seem at all right. It was all a new season…. a new day.

Running my errands that day, my list included a connect with one of my dad’s brothers. Joy rushed over my heart as the familiarity this brother brought helped me feel a little closer to my dad in this moment.

I soaked in the memories shared about his brother…My dad… A little piece of Heaven for my heart.

One beautiful memory stood tall above the rest in my heart.

As the story went, my dad had been laid up for about a week at the young age of 17 with a bout of the mumps back in the early 60s.

Sleep, eat, sleep, eat, and then sleep some more. This brought back memories of my dad when I was a child, sleeping away the flu and fevers. It was his best medicine as this story went… On day 7 he announced he was better and was going to see my mom. “I’m going to see Erna.”

They were newly dating and a way was needed to be caught up with his sweetheart.

There was just one problem… the back roads where my dad and his brothers homestead existed, were buried under snow, and winter was not being kind at all to anyone who attempted to venture out.

But as I had experienced in the ensuing decades as a young witness in the back of my dad’s 66 Mercury as a wide-eyed child, the Manitoba winters were not a hindrance to my dad’s determination.

No road was too closed for my dad it seemed. And I believed him… Always.

My uncle continued with the coveted story, adding that his brother had enlisted him and his other brother with a couple of shovels tucked in the trunk along with some mighty heavy tires to weigh down the 55 Ford in anticipation of the nearly impossible snow-packed backroads.

My Dad’s plan was set into action… “I’m going to see Erna” was dad’s mantra.

There was no stopping him. The trio of brothers piled into my dad’s Ford and proceeded off the old country driveway and pointed the car to its coveted destination. His high school sweetheart… my mom.

By now, my smiling heart was leaping in anticipation of what was going to happen next. I felt it was as if I was right there in my dad’s car with the trio of brothers.

Oh how I wished that to be true in that moment.

My uncle continued the story with a far away look in his eyes as if he too were back in my dad’s 55 Ford, attempting the sometimes car window high snow drifts.

As my dad’s determined heavy foot gave speed to the weaving car through the almost impassable drifts, the speedometer leaned intensely to the right, passing each number higher and higher. It would have screamed if it could I’m sure as Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” accompanied the quest from the 60s 8-track, nestled securely in the dashboard slot.

The brothers held on as the tires barely made an impression on the hard snow drifts as speed seemed to skate dad’s car over each building drift that seemed to taunt him.

But to Erna he must get.

The brothers had not needed the hastily loaded shovels at all till now, but as fate would have it, the 55 Ford came to an abrupt halt just 10 feet from the end of the drift filled back road.

So out came the shovels. My dad was on a mission and wasn’t about to stop now… “I’m going to see Erna.”

As the last ten feet of drift was painstakingly shoveled, the two brothers bid my dad on his way, the car now a faint memory in the cloud of snow…. closer and closer as my dad rounded the country corner with my mom’s homestead in sight.

His pursuit of the one he loved had been a success through the seemingly impossible. My dad’s determination had won.

As this beautiful story came to an end and we went about our own ways, I couldn’t help but liken this story to our pursuit of our God, amidst the “snow drifts” which life hands us.

It is the snow drifts invisibility the storms of life throw at us that get in the way of the pursuit of our God.

Yet regardless of our pursuit, the Word tells us our God goes to much greater lengths to get to us through the “snowdrifts” of our hearts.

His love, the depths of which He says is as far from the East is from the West… deeper than the deepest ocean… and higher than the highest sky… and above all, his “ultimate snowdrift”, dying on the cross for us during His quest for each of us to make a way to Eternity with Him.

Our “yes” to this amazing love is our ticket.

My heart smiled wide at the thought of my dad’s determination to see my mom.

I admired his pursuit of the one he loved.

Yet it doesn’t compare to the love of our God’s love for us and the pursuit that was His heart…

Is almost too good to be true. But here it is…. His amazing love

The ultimate Pursuit.

NEW BOOK!

My second Book of the Collection Series is available now @Amazon.ca as well as direct from me🌿
Coming soon to a bookstore near you!

A portion from every book sold, 1&2, will be donated to a cause dear to my heart having 4 daughters myself.

Sex trafficking is a devastating and very real problem even in our most local areas sad to say.
The Joy Smith Foundation is committed to rescuing these victims and giving them hope of a better life in their healing journey.

I found it fitting her name was Joy as well❤️

Thankyou for your support!
Thankyou for your likes and shares🌿

https://www.joysmithfoundation.com/

NEW BOOK!!

It’s Here!! 🎈🎈🎉🎉

The second book of the IN THE MOMENT Collection Series has arrived and is ready for purchase!

Sneak peak availability under paperback!

As a Book Launch Special, if an E-book is purchased at its low Launch Price by May 14, a signed paperback copy is available with each E-book purchase from me personally at a discounted price of $16 no tax!!

Leave me a message here with proof of purchase and a copy will be on its way!

Thankyou for sharing in this exciting Launch day with me!!

Just keep “Painting”

His face cringed as yet another splash of 16th century paint dripped mockingly on his tired face.

“I am not in the right place… I am not a painter”. – Michelangelo

Who would have thought these words would come out of this most famous painter’s mouth.

His most famous work of art during the Renaissance in the 16th century, the Sistine Chapel, took him 14 years to complete.(1508-1512).

Along with many laments characterizing his self written poetry of his painting experience, Michelangelo penned these words: “This is torture…” My brain is crushed”… ” every gesture I make is blind and aimless”….”my thoughts are crazy”… “My painting is dead”.

14 years of these laments, torturing his mind. And yet he carried on and created one of the masterpieces of all masterpieces.

At the age of 74, Michelangelo was called to save Saint Peter’s Basilica, himself painting for many of those next 14 years and instructing other painter’s to complete his work the last years before he died at the age of 89.

How often don’t we “lament” over things we know we are called to do in our hearts, and speak to ourselves loudly some of the same poetic words of one of the ultimate Renaissance Masters.

“This is torture… My brain is crushed… Every gesture is blind and aimless… I am not a painter… My painting is dead”.

We think our efforts are futile in our calling and passion because we may have this ever-present dialogue in our minds, perhaps 14 years… or even more.

You may not be the painter of the Sistine Chapel over 400 years ago now, but you may be the painter of the 21st century of encouragement, kindness, love generosity, hope, or even the best literal painter, along with all that looks like in our own unique gifts and Passions.

Do you constantly cringe from the “paint drips”… The feeling that every step you take in your passion is “blind and aimless” and even “dead” as Michelangelo lamented, though his gift was clearly not dead?

Despite these constant thoughts and feelings, Michelangelo went on to paint and oversee the Saint Peter’s Basilica till the day he died at the age of 89.

89…

Take courage… Your thoughts and feelings don’t rule your abilities in your Passions. The world needs them. They are unique to only you on this planet of 7 billion. That fact alone makes your gift /passion priceless.

We can learn from this master painter of the 16th century. No matter or thoughts and feelings about our abilities and Passions.

Let the majestic colors of your unique gifts and Passions color your world with the brightest of the brightest hues only you can give.

But more than that, find your encouragement/ truth from the ONE who is the author of those gifts and Passions.

We may not reach 89 but we will all reach whatever day will be our last.

Make each day count and despite your self talk and discouragement… Keep moving.

And… Just keep “painting”.

Release Your Aroma of HOPE.

The air in the room seemed to pop with fireworks of pungency.

My mouth danced with an array of sensations as my other senses awakened to heights only reserved for these kinds of moments it seemed.

Fresh, bright, green baby Dill.

Every cut of my mom’s trusty serrated knife seemed to release another invisible but instant aroma cloud into the small 70s kitchen.

My heart and mind were instantly happy and my soul danced right along with my happy senses.

Gently but swiftly, my mom scooped up the fresh mound of bright green dill from her trusty well-worn cutting board, and gingerly added it to the already simmering large stock pot of delicious Mennonite soup, filled with other magical, garden fresh ingredients, all preparing to contribute to this wonderful gathering of mouth-watering wonder.

All these ingredients needed to be prepped, cut and cooked to release what only each could release. A potato released potato, dill released dill.

Sitting on the cutting board uncut, unprepped would never bring the desired aromatic soup to its best potential and serve with the aromatic taste intended.

We all have an “aroma”… gift, just waiting to be released to the world. The world needs us to share with it that which only we can contribute; the gift of US that is meant to be shared.

Sometimes that aroma will be released in joyful moments and sometimes in hard ones. Either one can break open what is hidden in each of us.

If we all choose to release our gifts/aroma, and “marry” them together with each other, the world will be a better place… happy hearts, minds and souls… A place of HOPE …

When we release our aroma of HOPE.